Yearly Archives: 2014

California, NGC 1499

Despite its bright integrated magnitude the California nebula is one of the more illusive objects in the sky. Without the aid of a filter it is one of the most difficult objects to observe in any aperture. Burnham’s describes this nebula as “A difficult object visually.” But in his day they didn’t have the deep sky filters that are available to us. With an OIII, UHC, or H-Beta filter it is visible to the unaided eye!
That doesn’t make it easy, however. The basic problem with observing this nebula is that it is very large. Even though its total integrated magnitude is that of a 5th magnitude star, this light is spread over an area larger than 2.5o. The large aperture instruments that collect the most light also give smaller fields of view. The result is that the apparent surface brightness of the nebula is more or less constant with aperture. In fact, it is probably best detected with a small aperture that affords a field of view large enough to fit the entire nebula.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: AT65EDQ 65mm f/6.5 ED quadruplet astrograph AT65EDQ
Imaging cameras: QSI690
Mounts: Celestron Advanced VX
Guiding telescopes or lenses: AT65EDQ 65mm f/6.5 ED quadruplet astrograph AT65EDQ
Guiding cameras: QHY5L-II QHY5 L – II MONO
Software: PHD2 Guiding, PixInsight, Main Sequence Software Sequence Generator Pro, Photoshop CS5
Filters: Astrodon Blue Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2, Astrodon Green Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2, Astrodon Red Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2, Astrodon L
Accessories: Feathertouch Motorised Focuser HSM30
Resolution: 3620×5093
Dates: Dec. 15, 2014
Astrodon Blue Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 11×300″ -20C bin 1×1
Astrodon Green Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 11×300″ bin 1×1
Astrodon Red Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 11×300″ bin 1×1
Integration: 2.8 hours
Avg. Moon age: 22.56 days
Avg. Moon phase: 45.62%
RA center: 60.127 degrees
DEC center: 36.538 degrees
Orientation: 97.280 degrees
Field radius: 1.566 degrees
Locations: Greenville, Home, Greenville, NC, United States



Photo: Astrowood

IC 405 (Flaming Star Nebula, or Caldwell 31)


IC 405 (also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, SH 2-229, or Caldwell 31) is an emission/reflection nebula in the constellation Auriga, surrounding the bluish star AE Aurigae. It shines at magnitude +6.0. Its celestial coordinates are RA 05h 16.2m, dec +34°28′. It surrounds the irregular variable star AE Aurigae and is located near the emission nebula IC 410, the open clusters M38 and M36, and the naked-eye K-class star Hassaleh. The nebula measures approximately 37.0′ x 19.0′, and lies about 1,500 light-years away. It is believed that the proper motion of the central star can be traced back to the Orion’s Belt area.The nebula is about 5 light-years across.

RA center: 79.054 degrees
DEC center: 34.398 degrees
Pixel scale: 1.218 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 113.028 degrees
Field radius: 0.488 degrees

Author: Francesco Antonucci

Veil Nebula

21 дек

Veil Nebula

The Veil Nebula is a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus. It constitutes the visible portions of the Cygnus Loop (radio source W78, or Sharpless 103), a large but relatively faint supernova remnant. The source supernova exploded some 5,000 to 8,000 years ago, and the remnants have since expanded to cover an area roughly 3 degrees in diameter (about 6 times the diameter, or 36 times the area, of the full moon). The distance to the nebula is not precisely known, but Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) data supports a distance of about 1,470 light-years.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured several images of the nebula. The analysis of the emissions from the nebula indicate the presence of oxygen, sulfur, and hydrogen. This is also one of the largest, brightest features in the x-ray sky.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FSQ 106ED
Mounts: Paramount ME
Guiding cameras: QSI 683wsg
Software: Pleaides Astrophoto PixInsight 1.8, Maxim DL
Resolution: 2400×3060
Dates: Aug. 1, 2014
Frames: 96×1800″
Integration: 48.0 hours
Avg. Moon age: 4.54 days
Avg. Moon phase: 21.56%

“This is a 6 panel mosaic of the Veil Nebula in Ha imaged from SRO in California. Instead of the usual monochrome Ha look I did something a little different and mapped different brightness levels to different hues. I quite like it but I’m sure that it won’t appeal to everybody.” (Author: Rick Stevenson)

Solar prominence

Фотошоп 20 дек

A prominence is a large, bright, gaseous feature extending outward from the Sun’s surface, often in a loop shape. Prominences are anchored to the Sun’s surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun’s corona. While the corona consists of extremely hot ionized gases, known as plasma, which do not emit much visible light, prominences contain much cooler plasma, similar in composition to that of the chromosphere. The prominence plasma is typically a hundred times cooler and denser than the coronal plasma. A prominence forms over timescales of about a day, and prominences may persist in the corona for several weeks or months. Some prominences break apart and may then give rise to coronal mass ejections. Scientists are currently researching how and why prominences are formed.

A typical prominence extends over many thousands of kilometers; the largest on record was estimated at over 800,000 kilometres (500,000 mi) long – roughly the radius of the Sun.

When a prominence is viewed from a different perspective so that it is against the sun instead of against space, it appears darker than the surrounding background. This formation is instead called a solar filament. It is possible for a projection to be both a filament and a prominence. Some prominences are so powerful that they throw out matter from the Sun into space at speeds ranging from 600 km/s to more than 1000 km/s. Other prominences form huge loops or arching columns of glowing gases over sunspots that can reach heights of hundreds of thousands of kilometers. Prominences may last for a few days or even for a few months.
Technical card

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Istar Optical refractor 230 mm F/D 9 Anastigmatic Special H-Alpha R30
Imaging cameras: Basler ACA1300
Mounts: Astro-Physics AP 1200 GTO

Author: jp-brahic

Orion Nebula, M42


The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344 ± 20 light years and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across. It has a mass of about 2000 times the mass of the Sun. Older texts frequently refer to the Orion Nebula as the Great Nebula in Orion or the Great Orion Nebula.

The Orion Nebula is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky, and is among the most intensely studied celestial features. The nebula has revealed much about the process of how stars and planetary systems are formed from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers have directly observed protoplanetary disks, brown dwarfs, intense and turbulent motions of the gas, and the photo-ionizing effects of massive nearby stars in the nebula.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 200/1000 F5
Imaging cameras: Canon EOS 500D / Baader Mod, Canon EOS 450D Baader modified and cooled with cold finger
Mounts: Sky-Watcher N-EQ6 SkyScan EVO 1
Guiding telescopes or lenses: SkyWatcher 80/400, SkyWatcher Refractor 70/500
Guiding cameras: Astrolumina QHY5L-II Color
Software: Canon EOS Utility, FocusMax, APT – Astro Photography Tool, Pleaides Astrophoto Pixinsight 1.8, Canon Digital Photo Professional, DitherMaster for Canon EOS Utility
Filters: Astronomik CLS EOS Clip-Filter , Astronomik CLS 2″
Accessories: Baader Planetarium Mark II MPCC Coma Corrector, Omegon Dual speed crayford focuser for newtonian, Home made Arduino Focuser (project ser Jolo – ascom-jolo-focuser), Bahtinov mask 8″, EQMOD USB cable
Resolution: 3378×2556
Dates: Nov. 3, 2013, Dec. 13, 2014
Astronomik CLS 2″: 40×10″ ISO1600 -21C
Astronomik CLS EOS Clip-Filter : 75×15″ ISO3200
Integration: 0.4 hours
Avg. Moon age: 24.87 days
Avg. Moon phase: 32.35%
Temperature: 9.00
RA center: 83.764 degrees
DEC center: -5.525 degrees
Orientation: 66.628 degrees
Field radius: 0.625 degrees
Locations: Balcone di casa, Monreale, Palermo, Italy

Author:  Alessandro Pensato

The Rosette Nebula, NGC 2237


The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49) is a large, circular H II region located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. The open cluster NGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) is closely associated with the nebulosity, the stars of the cluster having been formed from the nebula’s matter.

The complex has the following NGC designations:

NGC 2237 – Part of the nebulous region (Also used to denote whole nebula)
NGC 2238 – Part of the nebulous region
NGC 2239 – Part of the nebulous region (Discovered by John Herschel)
NGC 2244 – The open cluster within the nebula (Discovered by John Flamsteed in 1690)
NGC 2246 – Part of the nebulous region
The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,200 light-years from Earth (although estimates of the distance vary considerably, down to 4,900 light-years.[3]) and measure roughly 130 light years in diameter. The radiation from the young stars excites the atoms in the nebula, causing them to emit radiation themselves producing the emission nebula we see. The mass of the nebula is estimated to be around 10,000 solar masses.

It is believed that stellar winds from a group of O and B stars are exerting pressure on interstellar clouds to cause compression, followed by star formation in the nebula. This star formation is currently still ongoing.

A survey of the nebula with the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2001 has revealed the presence of very hot, young stars at the core of the Rosette Nebula. These stars have heated the surrounding gas to a temperature in the order of 6 million kelvins causing them to emit copious amounts of X-rays.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FSQ 106ED ED III
Imaging cameras: SBIG STT-8300M
Mounts: GTD Gemini Telescope Design – Hungary G53F
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FSQ 106ED ED III
Guiding cameras: SBIG STT-8300M
Focal reducers: Takahashi 0.75x FSQ F/3,6 Riduttore Focale TAKA
Software: Pixinsight Core 1.8
Resolution: 2635×2245
Dates: Dec. 12, 2014
Frames: 45×600″
Integration: 7.5 hours
Avg. Moon age: 19.90 days
Avg. Moon phase: 73.05%
RA center: 97.942 degrees
DEC center: 5.015 degrees
Orientation: -97.003 degrees
Field radius: 1.401 degrees

Author: Davide Fiore

NGC 281, Pacman Nebula


NGC 281 is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia and part of the Perseus Spiral Arm. It includes the open cluster IC 1590, the multiple star HD 5005, and several Bok globules. Colloquially, NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the video game character.

The nebula was discovered in August 1883 by E. E. Barnard, who described it as “a large faint nebula, very diffuse.” The multiple star HD 5005, also called beta-1, was discovered by S. W. Burnham. It consists of an 8th-magnitude primary with four companions at distances between 1.4 and 15.7 seconds of arc. There has been no appreciable change in this quintuple system since the first measurements were made in 1875.

The nebula is visible in amateur telescopes from dark sky locations. In his book Deep Sky Wonders, Walter Scott Houston describes the appearance of the nebula in small telescopes.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Astro-Physics AP 130mm f/6.3 Starfire EDF
Imaging cameras: SBIG STXL-11002/FW8G-STXL
Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach1AP GTO with GTOCP3
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Astro-Physics AP 130mm f/6.3 Starfire EDF
Guiding cameras: SBIG STXL-11002/FW8G-STXL
Software: Pixinsight 1.8, Photoshop CS5, Maxim DL Pro 5
Filters: Astrodon 3nm SII, Astrodon 3nm OIII, Astrodon H-alpha 3 nm
Resolution: 2719×3600
Dates: Dec. 4, 2014, Dec. 6, 2014, Dec. 11, 2014
Astrodon 3nm OIII: 13×900″ bin 1×1
Astrodon 3nm SII: 14×900″ bin 2×2
Astrodon H-alpha 3 nm: 26×900″ bin 1×1
Integration: 13.2 hours
Avg. Moon age: 15.16 days
Avg. Moon phase: 91.20%
Locations: My back deck, Glen Ellyn, IL, United States

Thethys, the Spy

Тефия и Рея

Tethys appears to be peeking out from behind Rhea, watching the watcher.

Scientists believe that Tethys’ surprisingly high albedo is due to the water ice jets emerging from its neighbor, Enceladus. The fresh water ice becomes the E ring and can eventually arrive at Tethys, giving it a fresh surface layer of clean ice.

Lit terrain seen here is on the anti-Saturn side of Rhea. North on Rhea is up. The image was taken in red light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 20, 2012.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 59 degrees. Image scale is 7 miles (11 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit or The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Elephant’s Trunk nebula, IC 1396 SHO


The Elephant’s Trunk nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust within the much larger ionized gas region IC 1396 located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth.[1] The piece of the nebula shown here is the dark, dense globule IC 1396A; it is commonly called the Elephant’s Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths, where there is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. The bright rim is the surface of the dense cloud that is being illuminated and ionized by a very bright, massive star (HD 206267) that is just to the west of IC 1396A. (In the Figure above, the massive star is just to the left of the edge of the image.) The entire IC 1396 region is ionized by the massive star, except for dense globules that can protect themselves from the star’s harsh ultraviolet rays.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Sky-Watcher Equinox 120/900 ED APO
Imaging cameras: QHY CCD ALCCD 8L
Mounts: Skywatcher NEQ 6 PRO
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Lacerta Off-Axis-Guider (extra short) T2 Guide-Cam connector
Guiding cameras: Lacerta M-Gen MGEN II
Focal reducers: Skywatcher .85x Focal Reducer & Corrector
Software: MSB AstroArt 5, Adobe Photoshop CC 14
Filters: Baader Planetarium HA 36mm 7nm Filter, Baader Planetarium OIII 36mm 8,5nm Filter, Baader Planetarium SII 36mm 8nm Filter
Accessories: Filterschublade T2-T2 36mm, LACERTA MGEN Autoguider, V 2.12
Resolution: 2229×1535
Dates: Dec. 15, 2014
Frames: 20×600″ -15C bin 1×1
Integration: 3.3 hours
Darks: ~20
Flats: ~20
Flat darks: ~20
Bias: ~20
Avg. Moon age: 22.56 days
Avg. Moon phase: 45.62%
Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4.00
RA center: 323.532 degrees
DEC center: 57.609 degrees
Pixel scale: 2.513 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: -86.739 degrees
Field radius: 0.945 degrees

Author:  Burkhard

Pleiades, M45


In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. The celestial entity has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternate name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium, through which the stars are currently passing. Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades was probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: William Optics GT102 102mm f/6.9 Apo Refractor
Imaging cameras: Canon 600D astromod
Guiding telescopes or lenses: William Optics 50mm Guidescope
Guiding cameras: Orion StarShoot Autoguider
Software: Adobe Photoshop deepsky stacker
Resolution: 2601×1732
Dates: Nov. 15, 2014
Frames: 10×600″
Integration: 1.7 hours
Avg. Moon age: 22.46 days
Avg. Moon phase: 46.67%
RA center: 56.736 degrees
DEC center: 24.130 degrees
Pixel scale: 3.040 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 94.099 degrees
Field radius: 1.319 degrees

Author:  Cadby